How to rebuild body confidence after cancer with Leanne Pero
Meet Leanne Pero
Founder of Black Women Rising
Leanne (She/her) - Black British
Diagnosed in 2016 - Aged 30 - Stage 3 Breast Cancer
The world I want begins within me. The way you speak to yourself matters. Never let your fear decide your fate.
For me, rebuilding my body image after cancer was more about my mental wellbeing than my physical wellbeing.
At the age of 30, just months after my mum had finished treatment for breast cancer for the second time, I was diagnosed with stage3 breast cancer. I had a double mastectomy and eight rounds of chemotherapy. It completely shattered my world. I have never felt as bad as I did for those three months but not just because of the chemo, for how I felt in myself.
I was given the all clear and all of my scans since have been clear but the recovery from cancer has been immense. Breast cancer robbed me of everything that society tells us makes you a woman and I lost my sense of self-worth.
"But for me, the mental impact of life after cancer was so much bigger. I couldn’t normalise my life. My thoughts and feelings weren’t the same as before cancer. It has taken a lot of work to help me find a way out of the darkness."
The first thing step to recover came when I shared my journals…the ones I had written during my cancer journey. This led me to meeting so many other Black women going through the same thing which ultimately led to me founding The Leanne Pero Foundation.
Knowing that I was not alone & that I needed to advocate for my community helped to give me a purpose.
From there, I continued my journaling – now in the form daily gratitude practice. As well as seeking the support of professionals, this helped me to find even the smallest of things to be grateful for. In turn, this helped me to find the power in my own body.
There have been a lot of highs and lows along the way and I have no doubt that these will continue. However, I can now look at my body and feel grateful for everything it has helped me survive. I give thanks to my body every day (…well, most days).
Re-building doesn’t mean that it needs to look the same as it did before, the fact is that it just won’t…but the new body image that you find will be so much more powerful than it ever was.
It will take time, but that’s ok…after all Rome was not built in a day.
To find out more about Leanne and Black Women Rising, you can find them on: